Workshop on Luck, Risk and Competence: Epistemology 2020

Country: Spain

City: Sevilla

Abstr. due: 15.12.2019

Dates: 24.02.20 — 25.02.20

Area Of Sciences: Philosophy;

Organizing comittee e-mail:

Organizers: University of Seville


We are pleased to announce the kick-off workshop of the research project New Perspectives on Epistemic Risk (PI’s: Jesús Navarro and Fernando Broncano-Berrocal) and we would like to invite philosophers working on the topics of the workshop to participate. 

The notions of luck, risk and competence play a pivotal role in central areas of philosophy, either because they feature as key notions in significant philosophical theses and arguments or because they give rise to challenging puzzles. These notions occupy a particularly prominent position in several epistemological debates. For instance, Gettier-style cases, preface and lottery cases, and situations of misleading higher-order evidence can be framed in terms of epistemic risk and luck. In addition, whether one is in the business of analyzing knowledge or not, knowledge is widely thought to feature anti-luck or anti-risk conditions. On the other hand, the notion of competence (and the related notions of ability and skill) are also key to accounting for the nature of knowledge (both knowledge-that and knowledge-how) as well as for its value. More generally, when assessing the appropriateness or rationality of an agent’s attitude, it is crucial to consider the competences that the agent manifests or is in a position to manifest by adopting that attitude. 

The aim of the workshop is to discuss epistemological topics where the notions of luck, risk and competence play a significant role. Beyond epistemology, the workshop aims at discussing the nature of luck, risk and competence in general (and related notions such as skill or ability) as well as the conceptual connections between them.

Possible presentation topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • Is the nature of luck modal or probabilistic, or is it a matter of lack of control? Should risk be understood in the same way? 

  • How are the notions of luck and risk related to the notions of competence and achievement?

  • Can we explain, or at least shed light on, some of these concepts in terms of the others? 

  • What are the prospects of conditional or dispositional analyses of the notion of ability?

  • How do the different conceptions of skill bear on the intellectualism vs. anti-intellectualism debate on know-how? 

  • Are skills dispositions to know? Do actions manifest skill only if they are guided by knowledge states? And how is such guidance affected by the presence of risks?

  • What is epistemic risk, and what is its relation to epistemic luck? 

  • What different varieties of epistemic risk are there? 

  • What role may the notion of epistemic risk play in virtue epistemology?

  • Are there varieties of epistemic luck and risk that specifically jeopardize our second-order and reflective abilities?

  • How are epistemic luck and risk related to higher-order evidence and epistemic defeat? 

  • Can the notion of epistemic risk help us understand classical topics in epistemology such as epistemic normativity, the value of knowledge, skepticism, epistemic closure, Gettier cases or the lottery or the preface paradoxes? 

  • How is the notion of epistemic risk related to the internalist/externalist divide? 

  • Are we lucky to be rational? What are the normative and epistemological implications of this?

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